Written for IDW Comics message board's August 2008 "Outta the Box Challenge."

Challenge requirements: a BtVS or AtS character opening a box; must be compatible with TV or comic book canon.

Setting: southern California during Angel: After the Fall

Rating: PG.

Vast

Drusilla came out of a beach house as the last rays of the sun were dying, and she danced barefoot in the sand. The great, grey stretch of sea was turning darker now, and the constant rumble and soft crashes of surf and foam drowned out her voice but it didn't matter; she heard the tune perfectly well in her head. I've something in my pocket / It belongs across my face / And I keep it very close at hand / In a most convenient place...

She shook back her hair and gathered her soggy skirts and began to stroll.

From the corner of his eye Jordy saw her approaching. He'd finished construction on the last of a series of hermit crab forts (building materials included dead crab body parts and a discarded condom that he'd mistaken for a balloon), and had started excavating the moat when she veered away from the shoreline, crossed to the edge of the damp dunes, and knelt beside him. Her face was round and pale in the gloaming. Her lips were a dark slash across her mouth.

"Do you want to see what I've found?"

She seemed eager, excited; spoke in almost a conspiratorial whisper. Jordy stared at her uncertainly. But up and down the beach on either side of them were people, swimming and roasting marshmallows and walking dogs; not far behind him his own family was sitting out on their deck, within easy shouting distance. He shrugged. "I guess so."

Dru reached into the folds of her skirt and brought out a small white cardboard box, the type used for take-out rice from Chinese restaurants. "Look inside," she invited him. "It's lovely."

Jordy reached for it, then stopped and looked warily at the box's thin metal handle. "Is that real silver? 'Cause I'm allergic to silver."

Drusilla smiled and opened the box for him. Jordy peered into it. Lying on the bottom of the box was a dead moth.

Jordy decided she must have Alzheimer's.

"It's a land of milk and honey and bloody wine, and its wings are all-over dust," Drusilla explained, gazing in rapture at her prize.

"Those are scales," Jordy gently corrected. "They're just really tiny. That's what my science teacher told us."

"Teeny, tiny, itsy, bitsy," Drusilla crooned. "But I see what's on one little speck. Right on the tip of that wing. Yes, I do. There's a whole city there, and the speck is as big as the earth. Naughty man! So noisy. He'll get them all to yelling soon."

Jordy screwed up his face in confusion. "You mean like Horton Hears a Who?"

"So many tiny people!" She began to rock back and forth. "I want to play with them and let them have tea with my dollies. But they're far too small. Pity. Pity pity pity pity pity..."

She trailed off and leaned in toward Jordy and licked her lip with the tip of her tongue. Something in the way her eyes blackened set alarm bells off for him. Without thinking, he growled a warning low in his throat, and his teeth sharpened and lengthened.

Dru's eyes went wide. She pulled back, gazing at him in delight and wonder. "Loup-garou!" she whispered softly. Suddenly she snatched up the box and leaped to her feet. "Snips and snails and puppy-dog tails, that's what little boys are made of!"

Without another word she skipped away over the dunes and disappeared into the night.

Jordy sat still until he felt his teeth recede back into his gums. Then he carefully gathered up his scoops and buckets, and walked back up to his family's rented beach house. His cousin Oz met him on the balcony deck's steps.

"Ready to come in, huh?" Oz asked him. "Who was that you were talking to?"

"Just some crazy lady. She was collecting dead bugs."

They stacked Jordy's equipment neatly on the deck, and Oz turned off the porch light and the mosquito zapper. The great ocean before them went about its business, oblivious.


"Someone's gotta know, right?"

"Keep your voice down, Mr. Elliot. People are trying to sleep," Jeremy said quietly.

"But they've gotta. They'll notice, right? The rest of the world. They'll notice that we're gone, and, and, they'll look for us. They've got to notice that a whole city's gone, or has a big wall around it, or...or... We're here, damn it!" He became louder; even more agitated.

"Somebody wake up that nurse and see if she's got another sedative shot," someone three pallets away murmured.

"Mr. Elliot, you have to shut up. You're going to draw the attention of every man-eating monster on the block."

"But we're here!" Elliot sobbed. He raised his face to the ceiling and to the heavens. "Can't anyone up there hear us? We are here! We are here! We are HERE! WE ARE HERE!"

End